Q: Here in the Philippines, there is a sung version of the Gloria in the vernacular which is quite popular since it may be the shortest sung Gloria that we have.
It is short, however, since it omits several lines from the original text of the Gloria. Is this okay or at least tolerable?
The Gloria is a fixed Mass text, just like the Kyrie, Eleison, the Our Father, and the Agnus Dei. I could understand lengthiersung versions of such fixed Mass texts where extra repetitions of some lines are done, but to truncate them for the sake of brevity, I think not.
What say you? Thanks!
A: I’ve checked with a Filipino colleague. Your bishops’ conference has not taken an official position on abbreviating or changing the words of parts of the Mass. Quite a few musical settings of adapted texts are being composed and circulated there, especially among religious communities, and they are not being monitored.
The best practice, in my opinion, is to sing the words of the texts of the Mass without adapting them. I’m particularly surprised by the composers who rewrite the Our Father, thinking that they can write better words than the ones recorded in the gospel. The other texts come from the tradition, though they are based on scripture passages. I think we do the best service to our people when we sing these words as they have been handed down to us.
The Directory for Masses with Children allows changing these words, but that’s when most of those in attendance are pre-adolescents.